I really enjoy learning a new language and thought I’d share 5 ways to learn languages that I keep coming back to. Living in a foreign country or two, you’ll find that whether you’re looking to or not, that you’ll be learning a new language. It’s unavoidable. From the road signs, to hearing it around you. Which is brilliant. But when I wasn’t immersing myself in the language anymore I had to be more proactive.
I had always loved languages but wanted to become fluent in something besides my native language. Rather than knowing the odd phrase or being able to understand what someone was saying but being unable to formulate a sentence.
5 Ways to Learn Languages for free…or very little money
I’ve found a few or five, favourite ways to learn another language that I thought you might find useful on your language learning journey.
I’m currently learning German. Although I have a list of about five languages that I’d like to learn, I’ve found that it takes me longer if I don’t focus on the one. We all learn differently but this is really helped.
But regardless of which language you’re learning, I hope you find these helpful.
A FREE website and APP (Available on Apple, GooglePlay & Windows Store) that helps you learn using multiple skills. Which I find work best for me. Using Images, Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking you can pick up words quickly. Whilst repeated practice helps you retain them. Both the website and the App are really useful for this.
As you go through the levels, a lot like a video game, you can see your progress and the levels get harder. As you progress you’ll earn virtual Duolingo currency called Lingots. You can use these in the app to add bonus skills, take a progress quiz, or a timed test.
In the settings, you can get the app to remind you to practice and as your fluency level increases you can even add it on to your LinkedIn profile.
They have a course to learn English (US). For English speakers, they currently have French, English (US), German, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Turkish, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, Esperanto, Ukrainian and Polish courses. They also have other languages being developed for release. Such as Welsh, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Greek, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Swahili, Hindi, Klingon, Korean and Indonesian.
The one thing I’d mention is that the English used is actually US English. So sometimes I have to think of the American word first before I answer. Example, Trousers turns into pants. But they have made a big improvement on this so it doesn’t happen too often. This has to be the best FREE language App I’ve ever used and you aren’t bombarded with adverts. ANY adverts.
Once I’ve completed the German I’ll be adding another language to my profile.
This is an App that I use when I’m randomly looking for the meaning of a word or phrase. For example, if I’m listening to a German song and have heard a new word or one I’ve forgotten then I’ll use this to quickly look it up. If you’ve only heard the word and don’t know how to spell it that’s okay too. Because you can use the microphone option.
I wouldn’t recommend this App to use alone. If it is a slang word it doesn’t tend to be all that useful. As it seems to directly translate the words as opposed to the meaning. Sometimes things can get lost in translation. But it’s handy to have on your phone and it’s free.
If you like me are pinning-mad on Pinterest then you’ll like creating your own boards to help you.You can follow others or create your own. If you’re unfamiliar with Pinterest imagine a digital pinboard that you can organise as you like. It’s got many great uses but for today, I’m just going to mention the language boards.
This is my German language board on my Pinterest Profile. I also have a French board and a Swedish Board. I’m sure I’ll add more in the future. But you may find these helpful like I do.
Movies & TV
Foreign films and TV are a great way of immersing yourself in another language. There are fantastic films made in languages other than English and with the subtitles turned on you can have fun and learn at the same time. It doesn’t feel like learning either. But you can soak a lot in when watching a film. The subtitles aren’t always a correct or exact translation. But you’ll get the gist and later on when you improve you’ll notice when the subtitles aren’t an exact translation.
I’ve recommended some favourites in a post – 5 Great German Language Films.
If you like watching beauty videos on YouTube, for example, watch them in the language you’re learning. You can learn the language from watching native speakers. A great way of finding them is putting keywords in the search bar but in the language you want. The Google Translate App is helpful for this if you’re just starting out.
I started out watching the German Sesame Street ‘Sesamestraße’. This may sound strange, but when starting out with a language it can be helpful to start out with mediums directed at kids. It’s also spoken clearly and at a pace that’s helpful when you are building your vocabulary.
There are also channels that focus on teaching you a language as well. So it’s great finding one or two that you like watching. For example…
Get Germanized is a YouTube Channel by Dominik, a native German speaker. He makes videos for those who want to learn about the German language and culture.
There are so many great quality videos that you could be on there all day. From fun German lessons to Vlogs to Live Streams there’s something for everyone.
If you are learning German like me go and check out his channel and say hi.
Songs & Radio
If you are looking bands or artists in a foreign language then Spotify is a great way of listening to them for free. Search for ‘Italian’ and you’ll find playlists of Italian Artists or songs to get you started.
I like following the Goethe Institutes playlists for German. Not all of the songs are my taste, but there’s a huge selection to choose from.
I like finding a song I like just for the sound and playing it over and over again.
Audiobooks and foreign radio are great for the morning commute or travelling.
What is your favourite book? Get that in the language you’re learning. You don’t have to have read the book before. Whatever your level reading is invaluable. Whether you start with a children’s book or a John Grisham thriller it doesn’t matter. You’ll be learning words, grammar and spelling without really noticing it.
Updated 9/3/2017 – I’ve bought a couple of books recently that I’m really enjoying. One if a book of short stories that you translate and the other is a dual language book of Alice in Wonderland. (The links provided for these two books below are affiliate links *).
It can be difficult to fit learning a language into your day and allocating a specific amount of time is great. I find it more beneficial including it into my daily routine.
When I have some time I go on the Duolingo App. If I normally watch a YouTube video whilst getting ready I’ll watch it in German. If you listen to an audiobook on the way to work, buy one in your foreign language.
It may not seem like you’re spending a lot of time on it but all of the minutes add up. I’ve had some frustrating moments when I’ve wondered if I’ll get it and then one day it just clicks. Persevere. You may even find yourself dreaming in the language or not having to read the subtitles on a film.
Do you have any tips? Such as 5 ways to learn a language your learning? Are you a fan of any of the apps I’ve mentioned?
(Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Any affiliate links are mentioned and marked with an *. Full Disclaimer available here.)